this is another design from Bart Hopkin's book "Making Simple Musical Instruments". at some point i misspelled his "rumba", and the change has stuck. it is a marimbula: a giant bass thumb piano or kalimba, of a sort popular in the Caribbean.

the box is made from a lovely streaked piece of poplar found at a local home-supply store; unforunately, the pictures don't pick up the hints of green and purple. the soundboard and back are oak plywood, from the same piece used to build the zouk. the keys are 1/8th and 3/32 inch music wire (actually steel rods). the decorative sound hole was the result of purchasing a proper drill press; fortunately, the tone seems not to have suffered as a result.

Bart's design features a heavy bridge and light soundboard, resulting in a staccato tone and surprising amount of low frequency sound pressure; listeners are often amazed that there is no electric amplification involved. his mounting design, using bolts and a U-shaped loop on the keys makes it easy to adjust tuning. there are two full chromatic octaves. note that some of the keys are missing in the phototgraph: they are in the shop waiting to be polished, after a vigorous session of plucking with some jury-rigged metal picks.


samples, loops, and Reason/Mach5 banks coming soon...